LA, Academy in same district

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By Jose Corral

Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy will be district foes starting in the 2016 fall prep sports season.
Last year, the New Mexico Activities Association rearranged classes and districts, including District 2-5A, the home of Los Alamos prep sports. During the shuffle, Academy was placed in District 2-5A, while Bernalillo was removed from the district and was switched to Class 4A.
The district rearrangement assured that Los Alamos and Academy will compete against each other in every sport. It could also build potential rivalries in numerous sports.
Starting in the fall, Los Alamos boys and girls cross country could be tested by the Chargers earlier than usual. The Hilltoppers and Chargers are perennial contenders for winning a blue trophy at state meets but now they’ll face each other in district meets.
Los Alamos and Academy have dominated boys cross country in the past two decades. Since 1997, no other school has won the state championship in the NMAA’s second largest class (according to school enrollment). Academy’s 2015 triumph ended the Hilltoppers’ four-year winning streak.     
The Los Alamos girls cross country team has won seven-consecutive state titles with the streak starting in 2009. Before that, the Chargers won state titles in 2008, 2005 and 1993. The Hilltoppers had another state-winning streak from 2000-2004.
In track and field, the schools will compete in mutual meets, including the district championships, before meeting at the state meet in Albuquerque where they’ve had plenty of success.
The Los Alamos boys ended Academy’s six-state-championship streak by winning the Class 4A meet in 2008, which was the last time the Hilltoppers won a boys track and field state championship. The Chargers answered the Los Alamos victory by winning the next two Class 4A championships. Academy will look to add to its two-year championship streak in 2017. Could the Hilltoppers end Academy’s streak again?
In girls tennis, the Hilltoppers and Chargers have won one state title a piece since 2013. Previously, both school’s traded state championship victories from 2000-2008. Perhaps facing each other in the district championship could build momentum to face Farmington in state. The three schools are the only ones with state titles in the mid-class since 2000.
In boys tennis, Academy has won 14 consecutive state titles.
And guess who played in last year’s Class 5A boys soccer championship? The Chargers defeated Los Alamos 2-0 last November to win their first state championship since 2001. That was the Hilltoppers first state championship appearance since winning the Class 4A title in 2010.
The Los Alamos girls soccer team was the Class 5A runner-up in 2015, while Academy made a semifinal appearance.
While it might not become Las Cruces/Mayfield, Belen/Los Lunas or La Cueva/Eldorado, Los Alamos and Academy have the potential to build the state’s next intense rivalry.